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GA review[edit]

So I have to confess I didn't notice the GA review below until just now. Where does that stand at the moment? It looks pretty well completed. I don't see any outstanding issues. Coretheapple (talk) 17:23, 16 September 2014 (UTC)

It looks like the reviewer hasn't been on (see here). Hopefully they'll circle back whenever they have time. CorporateM (Talk) 17:36, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
Sometimes they stay in limbo for a long time. Months and months. Coretheapple (talk) 21:13, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
@user:Coretheapple FYI CorporateM (Talk) 15:30, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Yelp/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

comments from Protonk[edit]

At the request of the nominator I've taken over this review. My comments are below. I think that the bulk of this article is good to go. It's largely well sourced and clear and some good work has been done to clear up the first reviewers comments. I have two outstanding problems; one large and one small. My small problem is with the lede. I feel that it can be tightened up a bit and could better reflect the content of the article. My major problem is with the structure and tone of the Relationships with businesses section. The section has a very tough job. It has to accurately and fairly reflect the available sourcing on Yelp's admittedly patchy relationship with their main customer base. This is complicated by our merging of Yelp the business entity with Yelp the body of crowdsourced reviews, so we have sections which go from discussing business relationships to reviewers to the site and back again. There are also some problematic passages where we appear to be off-loading responsibilities for certain claims (often those critical of Yelp) where it isn't needed and or alternating between good press and bad where it would make more sense to the reader to organize things logically. I don't mean to pose the above as withering criticism of the article or the motivations of editors. On the contrary, it is very difficult to produce a well organized, clear and neutral summary of a subject like this so we should expect these problems at the GA level.

I think the best way forward is to deal with the smaller problems first and try to collect the larger problems and write proposed drafts for the individual sections which tackle multiple issues at once, because working on many of the tone issues piecemeal may introduce clarity problems and vice versa.

Thanks! I'll start working down the list, leaving anything controversial to Request Edits. CorporateM (Talk) 13:53, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
@user:Protonk I've done the ones that are fairly non-controversial. I'd like to wait a week or so to see if user:Coretheapple has time to take a look at some of the more controversial or substantial items. If not, I'll do them through Request Edits. CorporateM (Talk) 15:40, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Sorry I've been super busy! Sometimes I get contacted by folks that are not notable or have negative reputations in the source material and it's very time-consuming to talk them off the cliff. I'll take a crack at the last remaining item now and see if I can avoid making a jerk out of myself. user:Coretheapple did say they were busy IRL. CorporateM (Talk) 22:13, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
    • @CorporateM: Take your time. :) I'm happy to keep this review on hold as long as you need to work on it to your satisfaction. Protonk (talk) 22:19, 6 October 2014 (UTC)



  • The structure of the Relationship with businesses section makes me think that the first few paragraphs will roughly summarize the interactions Yelp has had with businesses with subsidiary sections on astroturfing, "interactions", manipulation, but I'm not seeing that here. I don't think it needs to be that way for a GA, but I'm not sure this section is as clear as it could be.
I'll leave this to user:Coretheapple if he/she has time. I find myself having increasingly strong opinions on the subjects. If I had my way, I think I would create a separate article similar to Reliability of Wikipedia, like Integrity of Yelp Reviews and use summary style. This section spans more than one-third of the entire article, and should be expanded even more. A lot of reliable sources about individual incidences were removed about a year ago because they are undue weight for this page, but would be perfect for an "Incidences" section on a separate article like the one found on Reliability of Wikipedia. CorporateM (Talk) 13:17, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
We may have taxed enough of their time (thanks for all their help!). I think we can find a path which satisfies your opinions but doesn't force us (yet) to create a new article. Converting the first paragraph to a rough summary of the interactions will help us make the following subsections shorter and more direct. When the time comes to create an "Integrity of Yelp reviews" (or whatever) article, the subsections can be removed and the summary left there with a hatnote to the new article. No fuss no muss. I know this is a tough situation for you but I think it should be resolved because it'll make the article more clear and allow for easier piecemeal editing of the individual sections. If you want to wait for Coretheapple we can; I'm happy to keep the review on hold as long as you need to. But I think this can be handled via a requested edit (or a series of them).
For specific recommendations on what I'd like to see in that paragraph I'd say:
  • Take out the court case
  • Take out (for now) the distribution of reviews (it's better suited in the "interactions" section as context for the owners reacting to "bad" reviews)
  • Clarify why we're including the information on the marginal value of a Yelp star. It's useful information but it's sort of dead weight in the paragraph unless we show why the reader should care.
  • Move up some material from the first paragraph in the astroturfing section to the section summary
If you're looking to shorten the section as a whole I'd question the need to have the bit about yelp and "a lawyer" getting into a tiff. Protonk (talk) 19:30, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
I don't think I would agree with most of those specifically as the class action lawsuit with the vet (if that's the one you are referring to) is unquestionably notable. It could be moved up into the currently sterile corporate history section, where lawsuits typically reside, so this section could focus on the broader issues. I think either location would be equally valid. The analysis of stars and their impact is also unquestionably notable, but the dispute with the lawyer may not be. I'll have to double check.
I support sub-articles more than is currently community consensus (though I think user:Wikidemon also mentioned a similar sub-article previously). For logistical reasons, it is most practical for a disinterested editor to give it a read through and do some re-structuring, trimming, and re-organizing (it is very hard for an editor to actually look at a proposed re-structure and know exactly what has changed), but I'll proceed with it that way if we don't hear back from Core. CorporateM (Talk) 20:13, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
It's the one supported by this source (text is "In 2013 Yelp and a law firm were involved in a dispute over their agreement for advertising services." etc.). For the GA review it's fine, just didn't think it was that necessary in a section if you're strapped for space as it were. Protonk (talk) 20:18, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
Also I see you've had some editors complain about using drafts for requested edits. I have no problem with that form if that's how you're comfortable proposing a reorganization like this. I kinda wish wikipedia allowed forks (technically) so we could diff unrelated pages, not just changes but if you want to paste the relationship section into a draft and reorganize it there I can review that pretty easily. Protonk (talk) 20:21, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
Doing more research, I don't think the dispute with the lawyer could be removed either, considering the sources available[2][3][4][5][6][7] On the contrary, just this one lawsuit (tiny in the scope of things) could warrant an entire section on a sub-page. Being that we are not a paper encyclopedia, we are never really pressed for space, just for due weight.
I usually tell clients that if they are not uncomfortable, they are not doing it properly. It comes with the territory. I find myself having reasonable and balanced viewpoints about the fairness of reviews, the filter, etc. but I don't think the accusations of actual manipulation are credible; rather like a pseudoscience it has been established by experts, academics, courts and whatnot to be false, but it is still a popularly believed point-of-view by businesses frustrated by their reviews and consumers that are easily influenced by the sensational press. That opinion, however reasonable it may or may not be, will get me into COI trouble when it reflects in the content I write (as it probably already does).
Anyways, lets wait a bit longer to see if Core wants to take a stab and if not I'll take a shot with a Request Edit type thing. CorporateM (Talk) 20:45, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

Take at re-structuring controversy[edit]

How's this? CorporateM (Talk) 22:46, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

Just made a few more tweaks. I should note, in order to avoid the appearance of trying to sneak something by, that this is along the lines of the structure I proposed one year ago, which did not obtain consensus. Not trying to wear down editors through attrition to get my way - it's just... that's how I'd do it... CorporateM (Talk) 22:58, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
I'll take a close look at it within the next 2 days. Protonk (talk) 23:01, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
Some thoughts: I like breaking out the "impact of reviews". I like the astroturfing section, with one suggestion that we take out the "according to the LA Times" in the first sentence. I'll have to take a closer look at alleged manipulation by yelp. I'll try and have more complete comments by thursday. Protonk (talk) 02:43, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

Request Edit GA edits[edit]

To avoid any remote appearance of impropriety, there are some edits related to the "Good Article" review I would like to request be reviewed and considered by a disinterested editor.

  • Suggest removing the very last paragraph of the Community section as general trimming. (see GA review feedback)
  • Suggest adding the content below to the end of the second paragraph of the "Alleged manipulation" section as the latest update after "filed an appeal."
  • Suggest moving "Businesses can also update contact information, hours and other basic listing information or add special deals.[8][13]" to the Features section and merging the rest of the "Interactions" section into the summary at the top of the "Relationship with businesses" section until we find a better structure for the section.
  • Suggest removing the See Also section. Paypal Mafia is more relevant for the CEO's page than here and I think Treedial is just spam.

CorporateM (Talk) 06:00, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

    • Yes check.svg Done, mostly. I kept foursquare in the see also section (if it is linked in the body let me know and I'll think about taking it out entirely) and made some copy-edits. Protonk (talk) 14:32, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

Recent edits[edit]

The last couple edits appear to be unsourced original research (also redundant with sourced content in the article) and what looks like vandalism? Not quite the kind of blatant vandalism I can revert with a COI; does someone mind taking a look as to whether to revert? CorporateM (Talk) 00:26, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

user:HaeB took care of it. CorporateM (Talk) 15:58, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

New sources / recent events[edit]

I am on the distribution list for Yelp's internal media coverage reports. When I spot a new source/event that may warrant inclusion, I'll be using this space to store them. CorporateM (Talk) 15:46, 31 October 2014 (UTC)

Not included in draft shared below - just says Yelp "expressed an interest" in acquiring Tablelog, according to Tablelog. Seems too trivial to include, though if someone disagrees they can add it. CorporateM (Talk) 15:09, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
Not included in draft shared below, as it's just a minor update of a judge ruling in Yelp's favor not to dismiss the case (it mentions a prior ruling favoring the other side). Probably best to wait until a final ruling is passed. I'm leaving it here in case another editor disagrees CorporateM (Talk) 15:30, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
Some content on Google Books Preview, but need to see about an inter-library loan to obtain the full text. CorporateM (Talk) 15:54, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

Request edit[edit]

It's been about 3 months since this article obtained the "Good Article" rank and many new sources have emerged since then. I also noticed the article still needs some copyediting, we could probably do with fewer sections via consolidation and a few issues like a spam link and other misc stuff have showed up. I've put together some proposed updates, tweaks and misc edits at User:CorporateM/Yelp using bold and strikeouts to indicate suggested edits. If a disinterested editor could review and approve/decline/discuss, I would be greatly appreciative of your time. There are some very minor edits (periods, commas and the like) that are not indicated in the draft.

As I was re-visiting the article, I also took a look at the source regarding Galbraith, which I think would be worth re-visiting in a separate discussion.CorporateM (Talk) 16:02, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

  • Couple comments: Many businesses fraudulently write reviews on their own businesses, - sounds a bit harsher/more negative than what is there already.
The text is actually the exact same; in both versions it says "fraudulently write reviews on their own business." However, looking at a thesaurus,[8] "fake" comes to mind as a softer alternative. CorporateM (Talk) 09:33, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
  • That's not my issue. The old version starts with "Yelp has had conflicts with business owners reviewed on the site," (focusing on Yelp, and suggesting the the conflicts are mutual) whereas "Many businesses fraudulently write reviews on their own businesses" focuses on the businesses and thus appears to absolve Yelp of any wrongdoings. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 14:43, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
Aww - I thought that was redundant with the prior sentence: "According to BusinessWeek, Yelp has "always had a complicated relationship with small businesses."[2] which expresses mutual conflict. There's actually more text there devoted to the complaints of business owners than Yelp. However it's a pretty trivial thing (the current is fine) so maybe it would be more practical to just leave it how it is now in the currently live article? CorporateM (Talk) 19:49, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Or reword it slightly, perhaps? To avoid the redundancy — Crisco 1492 (talk) 20:53, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
How about that? CorporateM (Talk) 21:08, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
  • I like it. Okay, I'll leave this open for a bit and see if anyone else wants to weigh in. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 21:26, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
  • and make spa appointments. - Perhaps appointments for spas?
Yes check.svg Done CorporateM (Talk) 09:33, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
  • internet-savvy adults 18-25 - insert "aged" — Crisco 1492 (talk) 03:42, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done CorporateM (Talk) 09:33, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

I have reviewed the changes planned by CorporateM. Feel free to go ahead and implement them yourself, they are in line with WP:NPOV. SamWilson989 (talk) 01:24, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for taking a look user:SamWilson989. Currently the Conflict of Interest Guideline requires that an editor with a financial connection to the subject of the article, not directly edit the page on controversial topics. While most of the edits are copyediting, there are some additions that have to do with lawsuits and whatnot that would fall under that category, where I am not allowed to edit, lest it give the impression of impropriety or manipulation. Typically what I do though is create an annotated draft like the one you saw, than once there is consensus to implement it, I'll go ahead and clear up the annotations (like I just did), so it's easy to copy/paste the draft into article-space without doing each edit individually. Of course if you're not comfortable pasting in someone else's work, than there's no obligation to either. CorporateM (Talk) 05:33, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Sure, I'll implement the edit myself if that's what you want, though it may have to be later today for that to happen SamWilson989 (talk) 07:28, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
WP:NORUSH. If you can't get to it until later this week, that's fine too. Thanks for chipping in! CorporateM (Talk) 07:48, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I added a brief update of the San Diego case, based on the ars technica article. Interesting. Coretheapple (talk) 18:40, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

Thanks @User:Coretheapple. I added your update to the draft, so it wouldn't be lost in a copy/paste. You'll see some notes above on why I didn't include it originally, but it's one of those nuance issues different editors handle differently, when it comes to recent/ongoing events. CorporateM (Talk) 18:57, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

A few updates[edit]

A few requested updates:

  1. Suggest adding to the Community section just after "Reviewers may also be motivated by badges and honors, such as being the first to review a new location,[10] or by praise and attention from other users.[65]" something like the following: "Some users post reviews as a matter of protest or support of the businesses political views; Yelp attempts to filter these.[1]
  2. Suggest adding at the very end of the Features main section: "In March 2014, Yelp added features for ordering and scheduling manicures, flowers, golf and legal consultations, among other things, through Yelp.[2]"
  3. Suggest adding as an external link: "Yelp: 'Billion Dollar Bully?'". CNBC. March 23, 2015. 
  4. Bloomberg says the Yelp Elite Squad was founded in 2005, whereas the LA Times[3] says Yelp started throwing parties for members in 2005, but the Elite Squad wasn't found until 2006. I would go with the LA Times, since they are more specific.
  5. Suggest adding to the end of corporate history: "In June 2015, Yelp published a study alleging Google was altering search results to benefit its own online services.[4][5]"

CorporateM (Talk) 16:21, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

  • Done 3. Questions for point 3 and 4: what's the point of added the external link? Could you please prepare a suggested wording for number 4? — Chris Woodrich (talk) 02:40, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
@Crisco 1492: For number 4, in my opinion I would go with something like "Yelp began throwing parties for members in 2005 and founded the Yelp Elite squad in 2006". I support the LA Times source as being accurate, because it sounds like a more detailed clarification over the over-simplified version from Bloomberg. For the External link, I'm not attached to it, but generally speaking one of the uses for External links is for sources that can't be used in the References section. If someone is interested in the subject, it's useful to see Yelp and a lawyer for the plaintiff debate the issue, but as an interview it can't be used as a reliable source. (again, not attached) CorporateM (Talk) 17:09, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Alright. I'd probably label the EL though. — Chris Woodrich (talk) 01:37, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

Recent edits request[edit]

I just noticed the following was recently added to the page analyzing fluctuations in the company's stock price:

"After a precipitous drop from over $100 to $50 over three months in early 2014, by May there were sympathetic reviews indicating it had been adequately corrected [6] and less sympathetic reviews referring to its valuation as "ridiculous" [7] based on forward price–sales ratio analysis:

"revenue of $1.39 billion by 2019 ... gives it a forward price-to-sales ratio of 3. ... If we discount 15% for share appreciations ... and 5% for the dilution we actually find out that Yelp's forward price-to-sales ratio is actually 9 even if it meets all the analyst goals.""

  1. ^ McKeever, Amy (May 19, 2015). "Why Yelp Emerged as a Site for Social Protest". Eater. Retrieved May 22, 2015. 
  2. ^ Solomon, Brian (March 24, 2015). "You Can Now Order Flowers, Manicures And Legal Advice Through Yelp". Forbes. Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  3. ^ Harris, Jen (May 1, 2015). "For some Yelp reviewers, it pays to be Elite". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 8, 2015. 
  4. ^ Fairless, Tom (June 29, 2015). "Study Suggests Google Harms Consumers by Skewing Search Results". WSJ. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  5. ^ Bergen, Mark (June 29, 2015). "Google Manipulates Search Results, According to Study From Yelp and Legal Star Tim Wu". Re/code. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  6. ^
  7. ^

The first source is written by a Forbes "Contributor" and I don't believe the ups and downs of stock prices is normally included. Can we trim this?

I also noticed the following was added and sourced to a "columnist"

Yelp also came into criticism by the Los Angeles Times in 2014 for the practice of selling competitor's ads to run on top of business listings, and allegedly offering to have the ads removed for a $75 monthly fee. (source

This is redundant with the first paragraph of the section and I don't think it's worthwhile to list each individual case in which a small business makes similar allegations. Also suggest trimming.

CorporateM (Talk) 16:21, 1 April 2015 (UTC)

The first one definitely needed to be fixed. Just a lot of financial mumbo-jumbo and yes, the sourcing was bad. We can make a reference to the stock price declining if it is sourced to something better than this. Not sure about the second point you raise. Coretheapple (talk) 13:36, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Thanks @Coretheapple:. For the second point, the source says at the bottom that it's a column. However, taking a closer look at it, I didn't realize it does seem to be a different allegation than the ones already covered. This one is about removing competitors' advertising from their profile for a fee, which is legitimately one of the features Yelp offers for "enhanced listings"[9] I also found no consensus skimming RSN to see if columns are considered RS'. This discussion says no, while six years ago here the honorable @DGG: argued in favor of a column source. So perhaps it is fine. CorporateM (Talk) 15:38, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
My quote in 2008 was not whether a column could be used as a source, but whether a column published in the format of a blog 2was to be judged as a blog or a column. That was relatively new st the time, but now, 7 years later, it is recognized that most columns are published that way. A column is by definition the opinion of a single person rather than the considered view of the news staff as a whole, and the responsibility for it is basically the reputation of the columnist, and needs to be reported in the name of the columnist, not just the name of the paper in which it is published--but that some columnists can be very reliable. The other link is in respect to one particular columnist who was held non-reliable (albeit without substantial discussion). It think the rule is basically very simple in one sense--it depends on the actual source-- and tin another sense complicated, because one must examine the reliability of the actual source for the actual material. I have no knowledge of this particular columnist. If, as CM says, this is a standard feature of their service one would expect better documentation. DGG ( talk ) 17:03, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes I don't see any problem with either that passage or its sourcing. This is a staff columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Coretheapple (talk) 17:56, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
RSN discussion is here. Seems to show no consensus one way or another. Coretheapple believes the column is reliable, because it is written by a journalist from the publication; @The Four Deuces: said columnists are not subject to editorial control from the newspaper. I suggested leaving a link to RSN here for whatever random editor responds to the Request Edit in a few months to do whatever they feel is right. CorporateM (Talk) 22:38, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
"News organizations", which is part of the "Identifying reliable sources" guideline is clear, "Editorial commentary, analysis and opinion pieces, whether written by the editors of the publication (editorials) or outside authors (op-eds) are reliable primary sources for statements attributed to that editor or author, but are rarely reliable for statements of fact." While it may be the guideline is wrong, it is better to get consensus to change it before beginning to use columns as reliable sources. TFD (talk) 01:02, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
CorporateM is not quite fully expressing my views on this so I shall do so. It is not just that this appears in the LA TImes. This work that we are discussing here was not simply "editorial commentary, analysis and opinion pieces." What we are doing is relaying the content of reporting of facts by a notable journalist, David Lazarus. While he does have an opinion which he expresses, we are not mentioning it (though we could, if we attribute it to him). Now, if this was a tabloid, or if Lazarus was noted for his anti-Yelp views or for twisted and stupid reporting on Yelp, we clearly have an obligation to take that under consideration. The former is clearly not the case; as for the latter, is he? Overall I find it a bit irritating that people are treating this like an opinion column and not what it was, which was a reported piece by a notable journalist in a notable news organization, relaying facts that belong in this article. Now as for the treatment of it, just to be clear on that point, I think the current reference to it appears to be fine. Coretheapple (talk) 16:11, 10 May 2015 (UTC)
@Coretheapple: Wikipedia's definition of Column (periodical) says "What differentiates a column from other forms of journalism is that... it explicitly contains the author's opinion or point of view." Wikipedia mentions his opinion by calling it out as criticism. Your argument is that it's reliable for facts, not opinions, but the policy cited by the four deuces says the opposite, that opinion content is "rarely reliable for statements of fact", but may be for the author's opinion, even when authored by a professional journalist. I think The Four Deuces' point seems to be supported by current policy.
Personally, I absolutely despise the argument that a source is reliable for the opinion of the author. All sources, including press releases, primary sources, etc. are reliable accounts of the author's opinion; it's a cop-out for trying to justify an un-reliable source that we see at RSN all the time. It's almost always a weight or NPOV issue if not an RS issue. I can't believe we have this argument codified somewhere as policy, but so long as that is the will of our policies... CorporateM (Talk) 17:49, 10 May 2015 (UTC)
The passage about "rarely reliable for statements of fact" relates to staff editorials, not columns written by reporters, and the policy itself which even allows blogs, a lesser form of creature in journalism than a newspape. See WP:NEWSBLOG, which notes that "several newspapers, magazines, and other news organizations host columns on their web sites that they call blogs. These may be acceptable sources if the writers are professionals, but use them with caution because the blog may not be subject to the news organization's normal fact-checking process." This is in fact a column, not a blog, written by a notable journalist in the Lost Angeles Times. In any event, we are having an abstract discussion here. Do you have any specific outstanding request concerning this passage? Coretheapple (talk) 21:31, 10 May 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@Coretheapple: and @The Four Deuces: I started researching this with an RfC in mind, but in taking a look at current guidance on the reliable sources policy, I think it can be hammered out.

A couple relevant policy excerpts:

  1. Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources says "Some news outlets host interactive columns they call blogs, and these may be acceptable as sources so long as the writers are professional journalists... and the blog is subject to the news outlet's full editorial control." The author is David Lazarus, who is a professional journalist. The column is probably subject to the same rules as a "column called a blog"
  2. Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources also says "Editorial commentary, analysis and opinion pieces, whether written by the editors of the publication (editorials) or outside authors (op-eds) are reliable primary sources for statements attributed to that editor or author, but are rarely reliable for statements of fact." Editorials and columns are both opinion pieces written by journalists. This policy is also most likely relevant.

If it is a primary source as alleged by numer 2, it shouldn't be used

These two policy excerpts taken together seem to suggest the source is fine, so long as it includes the author's opinions only and is attributed to the author. Therefore, I would suggest something like:

"Yelp also came into criticism by the Los Angeles Times columnist David Lazarus also criticized Yelp in 2014 for the practice of selling competitor's ads to run on top of business listings, and allegedly offering to have the ads removed for a $75 monthly fee as part of a paid feature.[10]source

In this way, all of the factual statements are verified by Yelp's own website and some common sense. They do in fact run ads from competitors and do offer a paid option (Enhanced Profiles), where one of the features are to remove competitor advertising. Then the opinion of the columnist is included with attribution, without including factual claims from the column such as the $75 price-tag. Thoughts? CorporateM (Talk) 19:24, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

Ugh, actually if it is a primary source as alleged by number 2, that would make it unacceptable. Maybe we should do an RFC? CorporateM (Talk) 19:29, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
You can do whatever you wish, but frankly I'm getting weary of your hairsplitting and wikilawyering over this manifestly acceptable material. Coretheapple (talk) 20:27, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
It does not meet 1. Sure all columnists are journalists, but the issue is whether they are writing news articles or columns. The source clearly says "David Lazarus' column runs Tuesdays and Fridays." Writers of news blogs otoh must document their sources and use double-sourcing, and the editors may have their facts checked. Any errors found after publication are then reported in the corrections section and/or on the news blog. TFD (talk) 22:29, 13 July 2015 (UTC)

Yelp's business model is (apparently) extortion[edit]

A July 2 / 2015 article on Zerohedge about Yelp's CEO "gives up trying to find a buyer for the company" elicited the following comment about the company: "Yelp is absolute horsesh1t for businesses. I have a buisness....and these f*cks harass the sh1t out of me to advertise...and if you don't pay them, they "Hide" the good reveiws, and post the not so good ones. We have 31 good reveiews that are "Filtered". If you go to the bottom of the page of most yelp businesses reveiws...down in the corner you can find a really small button that says "Filtered Reveiws". You click that...OH look...lots of good reviews hidden from the main site. Then when they call, they say they can work with you to get your GOOD "Filtered" reviews taken out of the "Filtered" area. We even have customers come back for their 2nd or 3rd time and say "Did you see the review I left...thanking you for what you did..?" And there it is...lost in the "Filtered" section. This is blackmail. F*ck them...I hope they crash and burn just like Facef*ck." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:12, 3 July 2015 (UTC)

Request for commment[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
There is consensus that the quote is acceptable. The majority opinion also recommended attributing it directly to David Lazarus. AlbinoFerret 23:57, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

Is the following sentence acceptable (NPOV, not undue, reliably sourced, etc.): "Yelp also came into criticism by the Los Angeles Times in 2014 for the practice of selling competitor's ads to run on top of business listings, and allegedly offering to have the ads removed for a $75 monthly fee.(source)


  1. The source is a column written by professional journalist David Lazarus
  2. According to the Wikipedia article on Opinion piece columns represent the opinion of the author, whereas editorials represent the opinion of the publication
  3. WP:USERGENERATED says that many blogs are essentially columns and "may be acceptable as sources so long as the writers are professional journalists"
  4. WP:NEWSORG says that "Editorial commentary, analysis and opinion pieces, whether written by the editors of the publication (editorials) or outside authors (op-eds) are reliable primary sources for statements attributed to that editor or author, but are rarely reliable for statements of fact."

Number 3 seems to suggest there is a possibility the column is acceptable, since it's written by a journalist. Number 4 seems to suggest that is is a primary source for the author's opinion even if it is written by a journalist and would therefore be undue/a bad use of a primary source. — Preceding unsigned comment added by CorporateM (talkcontribs)


  • This has been addressed before, but CorporateM, a COI editor, can't accept that and keeps pushing the issue repetitively, in a nitpicky wikilawyering fashion, apparently until he gets the answer that satisfies him and Yelp. There is absolutely, positively, unequivocally nothing wrong with the text that is the subject of this totally unnecessary RfC. These are factual statements made by a notable journalist at a notable news organization. There is no evidence that the journalist in question, David Lazarus, is on some kind of crusade against Yelp, or that the Los Angeles Times is for some reason not to be trusted and is simply mouthing off on Yelp. It is not a user-generated blog by any stretch of the imagination, and it is not an editorial or an opinion piece. It is the Los Angeles Times's business columnist reporting facts. Yelp, whose spokesman was quoted in this piece, doesn't like what the LA Times printed. Tough. There is absolutely zero reason to remove or change this text, but we keep on getting the insistence of a Yelp representative, CorporateM, that it has to go.
Up with this I am fed. Enough already. Put down the WP:STICK, already. If you don't like what the LA Times business columnist reports about Yelp, take it up with the LA Times or its business columnist. Coretheapple (talk) 15:21, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment There was a prior discussion at RSN and The Four Deuces raised the valid point that WP:NEWSORG discourages the use of editorials, even if they are written by professional journalists. This article explains the difference between editorials and columns. Columns are the reporter's "personal opinion about issues" and editorials are "presenting the opinion of the publisher, editor or editors." If the source is kept, It should be attributed to the author, not the publication, since this is a column, not an editorial.
I wish we could have a thoughtful discussion. RSN doesn't have any recent thoughtful discussions about columns to establish precedence. Many editors like myself use RSN archives constantly to evaluate sources. The reliable sources guideline doesn't address columns specifically and seems to have contradicting advice. Unfortunately, once an editor de-rails the discussion to focus on COI, editors will respond based on their opinions about COI and COI conduct, rather than policies and sources. Therefore, Core is right that this RFC will not be useful, since it is tainted by the cloud of COI. I will try to raise the issue again on an article where I have no COI. This one sentence on this one article is not that important. CorporateM (Talk) 18:46, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment: As a neutral editor, maybe my two cents might be helpful. My thoughts are these: 1) The facts should be kept. 2) The current wording should be revised (maybe as CorporateM suggested above).
To elaborate: I do think that a column by Mr. Lazarus fits the requirements of reliable sources as described in WP:UGC because his columns can safely be assumed to be "subject to the news outlet's full editorial control", so when he uses the column to report things that happened, it's a reliable source for those things. In this specific instance though, all that he reports as fact is that sponsored ads were placed above one guy's entry (which any Yelp user can confirm is their standard policy, just check this random search I just did (disable your adblocker first)) and that he was offered to buy the same ad space to have his entry shown instead. As such, I think CorporateM's suggested wording above is actually harsher (but better) than the current wording because it removes the unnecessary "alleged" (they did admit to it after all, they just objected to the word "extortion"). I would suggest to rephrase it a bit and to use this wording:
Journalist David Lazarus of the Los Angeles Times also criticized Yelp in 2014 for the practice of selling competitors' ads to run on top of business listings and then offering to have the ads removed as part of a paid feature.
Regards SoWhy 20:48, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
@SoWhy: I sincerely appreciate your keeping the discussion on-topic. I would suggest "columnist" rather than "journalist", as this is what the LA Times and our own Wikipedia page on David Lazarus both call him. Also, rather than the vague "criticized" I think we could work something more specific in - he says "unfair business practice". But this is all just nit-picking. As you point out, the facts that Yelp does offer this service is not contested, only whether a journalist's opinion is undue when it's in an article that is actually identified as opinion, rather than news. CorporateM (Talk) 21:28, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
I think for some people the word "columnist" carries the connotation of someone just writing their own opinion down without any journalistic training or experience. The wording I suggested is factually correct because Lazarus is a journalist and he works for the LA Times. As for the last part of your comment, I think it reflects what Coretheapple commented above, i. e. that just because Lazarus used his column to report it, doesn't mean it's not real journalistic reporting. Regards SoWhy 19:13, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Regarding "carries the connotation of someone just writing their own opinion down without any journalistic training or experience" I think it's important to distinguish between editorials, columns and op-eds. What you're describing is an op-ed, whereas columnists are typically written by journalists, so using the word columnist doesn't imply that it's an op-ed. The Wikipedia page on Opinion pieces offers a good summary of how each one differs. Anyways, your suggested copy is also good/better for various reasons. CorporateM (Talk) 19:29, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Unaccept the phrasing is a minor distortion of the cite, did not convey due weight on other views, and may be insignificant. Saying LA times is unusual and not about the complaint so it seems just there to push authority of what is basically the one businessmans view. The line did not include the larger view of article lead 'that the merchant could buy out the ad space on your own page' and it all could be conveyed equally well in more neutral phrasing that all might agree is the situation e.g. 'competitors ability to buy ads over a review unless the business pays to get the space has felt coercive'. But the larger picture seems like this is really hunting down to nit stories to get negatives in this Relationship section and only negatives. Where is the context of overall picture academic survey or maybe a subsection of something positive or in this subsection about coercive effect if something exists about what percent businesses feel driven. The closest this seems to come to an independent overview or alternate view seems to be where is says all such negative claims have failed in court. Markbassett (talk) 12:53, 17 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Unacceptable: The extortion twist should be removed from the explanation of Yelp's service that allows a business to "buy out the ad space on [its] own page." The business practice ("selling ads that accompany related business listings," but also allowing businesses to buyout the ad space on their page) should be explained with neutrality, then it should be mentioned that columnist David Lazarus of the Los Angeles Times has criticized this business practice by likening it to extortion. Abierma3 (talk) 11:34, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
  • The facts should be kept. The framing suggested by User:SoWhy is more accurate and should be used. Darx9url (talk)

Journalist David Lazarus of the Los Angeles Times also criticized Yelp in 2014 for the practice of selling competitor's ads to run on top of business listings, and allegedly offering to have the ads removed for a $75 monthly fee.

  • SoWhy's version looks fine to me. The LA Times column calls it an "unfair business practice", and it seems fair to list this criticism on the page. I don't see issues with undue emphasis. The content is reliably published and from a mainstream source. To censor this criticism would be a bad idea and seems like whitewashing. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 01:26, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Primary sources are acceptable if attributed. Something being a primary source does not automagically make it WP:UNDUE. It would be if he were some random dude who'd figured out how to post a webpage, but that's not the case here. It could be undue weight, no matter who wrote it, if it were a lone report, and the claim was extraordinary. But it's not, and it's been well-reported in a lot of other sources. Add another citation and this entire question is just made moot. Here's a head start for ya.[11].  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:47, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
That's a very good point, and editors (myself included) have been treating this as an isolated comment, whereas the general issue has received so much attention that it may be worthy of a separate subsection. I might add that my input into this article was specifically requested by CorporateM. Coretheapple (talk) 13:17, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish: Those sources are on a similar subject in a very general way (Yelp's relationship with business owners), but I have not seen any secondary sources criticize the practice of selling advertising space on a listing to competitors, etc. If there are some available, they would be a worthwhile replacement for the column. Despite the poor reporting (the columnist apparently didn't bother to verify that this was in fact an advertised service), it's actually a much more reasonable criticism. The accusations of nefarious review manipulation are primarily from businesses unhappy with their ratings, whereas Yelp does in fact sell ads to competitors of the listed business and it is a pretty aggressive tactic. Well, now I'm just ranting my own personal POV though. CorporateM (Talk) 19:37, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
A more general approach to WP "coverage" of what RS say about this stuff might be in order, instead of focusing on that one allegation. Also, if the journalist actually did make at least one known factual error (including a major one of omission) that would seem to call into question the source's reliability in a much more direct way.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:27, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish: I actually have to recant my comment there. Previously there was a discussion about "allegedly" being a poor use of language, since the fact that Yelp does this is easily verified, but they were talking about the the article-text on Wikipedia and not the source. My mistake! We're the ones that got it wrong, not the columnist, and it's a minor mistake anyway. The $75 price-tag mentioned in the source is probably incorrect, as I believe Enhanced Profiles start at around $300, but this is properly attributed to the claims of an individual business owner anyway and not included in the proposed text above. I think the current article-text does a good job of summarizing the issues without getting into the nitty gritty of every single small business and their individual allegations. It did get a good going over in the GA review process. Every publication that covers this usually finds their own anecdotes from small business owners and the accusations run a wide spectrum. CorporateM (Talk) 22:57, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Accept The quote is fully sourced to a suitable reference and, aside from that, the text is accurate. People researching Yelp will want to see commentary about Yelp's business practices albeit one that Yelp itself continues to deny. More information is better than less provided said information is encyclopedic and well-sourced. Damotclese (talk) 16:23, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

request edit[edit]

Requesting someone implement what has been established as consensus in the RFC above. @SoWhy: had proposed some specific text "Journalist David Lazarus of the Los Angeles Times also criticized Yelp in 2014 for the practice of selling competitors' ads to run on top of business listings and then offering to have the ads removed as part of a paid feature." Certainly editors also have the option of wording it some other sensible way. CorporateM (Talk) 20:21, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

Article is now updated with the suggested wording by User:SoWhy. -- Eclipsed (talk) (email) 18:00, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

Storage for new sources[edit]